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Anti-racism protests spread to Berlin and London

31.05.2020

Outcry over the killing of George Floyd has gone international, with people taking to the streets in Berlin and London to show solidarity with US protesters. In Germany, soccer stars wore T-shirts and knelt in support.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German and British capitals on Sunday to show support for protests in the United States over the killing of a black man by a white police officer.

The death of George Floyd sparked international outrage after a video circulated of him gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck in the city of Minneapolis. 

In Berlin, several hundred protesters turned out for the second day in a row, staging a rally outside the US Embassy. Demonstrators held up signs reading: "Stop killing us" and "Justice for George Floyd."

Read more: Opinion: America must wake up to the reality of racism

In Berlin's famous Mauerpark, where street artists can paint sections of the former Berlin wall, a memorial to Flynn has now appeared.

A mural tribute to Floyd was painted by the Berlin artist eme_freethinker

Bundesliga stars taking a stand

Soccer stars in Germany's Bundesliga also joined in on the protests on Sunday.

Borussia Dortmund player Jadon Sancho lifted his jersey after scoring a goal to reveal a T-shirt reading: "Justice for George Floyd." He received a yellow card for the move.

Earlier, forward Marcus Thuram took a knee on the pitch after scoring during Borussia Monchengladbach's win over Union Berlin. After scoring in the first half, Thuram dropped his knee to the ground and bowed his head, waiting several seconds before getting up again.

"He made a sign against racism, one we all completely support of course. I believe that everyone fully supports it, that everyone has the same thoughts he does," Monchengladbach coach Marco Rose said.

Read more: Athletes deserve full freedom of expression

Kneeling in London

In London, thousands of people turned out in solidarity with US demonstrators, carrying signs reading: "No justice, no peace."

The protesters knelt in Trafalgar Square before marching past the Houses of Parliament and stopping outside the US Embassy in London.

The Metropolitan police said they arrested five people outside the embassy — two for assault on police, the others for violating coronavirus lockdown guidelines.

The kneeling protests in London and during Bundesliga games are a reference to the style of peaceful protest used by Colin Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. 

Kaepernick and others on NFL teams would kneel during the US national anthem to protest against police brutality and racism amid the Black Lives Matter Movement.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
'I can't breathe'

Tense protests over decades of police brutality against black people have quickly spread from Minneapolis to cities across the US. The protests began in the Midwestern city earlier this week, after a police officer handcuffed and pressed a knee on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, until he stopped breathing and died.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
A 'gentle giant'

Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas, and moved to Minneapolis in 2014 for work. Before his death, he was looking for work after having been laid off from his job as a security guard at a Latin bistro due to Minnesota's stay-at-home coronavirus restrictions. Standing 6 feet, 6 inches (1.98 meters) tall, his friends described him as a "gentle giant."

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
From peaceful to violent

Protests were mostly peaceful on Saturday, though some became violent as the night wore on. In Washington, D.C., the National Guard was deployed outside the White House. At least one person died in shootings in downtown Indianapolis; police said no officers were involved. Officers were injured in Philadelphia, while in New York two NYPD vehicles lurched into a crowd, knocking people to the ground.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
Shops destroyed, looted

In Los Angeles, protesters faced off with officers with shouts of "Black Lives Matter!" as police confronted crowds with batons and rubber bullets. In some cities including LA, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Minneapolis, protests have turned into riots, with people looting and destroying local shops and businesses.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
'When the looting starts…'

President Donald Trump has threatened to send in the military to quell the protests, saying his "administration will stop mob violence and will stop it cold." Trump's response has inflamed tensions across the country. He blamed the rioting on alleged far-left groups, but Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told reporters he had heard multiple unconfirmed reports of white supremacists stoking the violence.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
Media in the crosshairs

Many journalists covering the protests have found themselves targeted by law enforcement. On Friday, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while covering the story in Minneapolis, and several reporters have been hit with projectiles or detained while on air. DW's Stefan Simons was fired at by police twice as he reported on the unrest over the weekend.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
Going global

North of the US border, in Canada, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Vancouver and Toronto. In Berlin, American expats and other demonstrators gathered outside the US Embassy. In London, protesters kneeled in Trafalgar Square before marching past the Houses of Parliament and stopping at the British capital's US Embassy.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
At Trump's front door

Protests raged in the US capital, Washington, after the district began its 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Sunday. More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, with some lighting fires outside the president's residence. The New York Times reported that Secret Service had brought Trump into a bunker as a safety precaution.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
Curfews in major US cities

Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Washington D.C. and other US cities extended curfews as protests entered a sixth night on Sunday. The state of Arizona in the west instituted a statewide, weeklong curfew after demonstrators clashed with police. Around 5,000 troops from the National Guard also have been deployed in 15 US states.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
Trump threatens to bring in US military

In the face of renewed protests on Monday, Trump threatened to deploy the military if states failed to "defend their residents." As he made his remarks, security authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to force protesters from nearby Lafayette Park. Trump then walked from his residence to a church in the park, where he held a Bible aloft during a photo opportunity.

In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities
Peaceful demonstrations

Many protests in the US have remained peaceful, with groups of demonstrators standing together against police brutality. In Manhattan's Times Square on Monday, protesters lay on the ground with their hands behind their back, mimicking the position Floyd was in when he was killed. Though some people have resorted to violence, several US mayors and governors have praised the protests.

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rs/mm (AP, Reuters)

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